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Center for missing children offers information for Spanish speakers online

Posted by Elena del Valle on September 11, 2008



Ernie Allen, president and CEO, NCMEC

Photo: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

In an effort to reach Spanish dominant communities with a strong online presence, the NetSmartz Teens website, an Internet safety resource of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) with funding support from Sprint, recently added Spanish language information to the site’s online materials.

Project leaders relied on research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project that indicates 76 percent of bilingual Latinos and 32 percent of Spanish-dominant Latinos use the Internet. The new Spanish translations are designed to reach this audience with online safety resources using Web comics, animated videos and activity cards.

The website, created by staff at NCMEC’s NetSmartz Workshop, was designed to educate tech oriented youth about the potential risks they may encounter online and the importance of following safe behavior on the Internet. Now in its second year, the program’s online resources pages target tweens (youth ages eight to 12), their parents, guardians and educators with information about cyberbullying and social networking.

“We know that talking about the potential risks our children face online can be difficult for everyone, but education is critical to all of our online safety efforts,” said Ernie Allen, president and chief executive officer, NCMEC. “No audience should be overlooked, and we are grateful to Sprint for sharing our commitment to reaching as many people as possible with tools they can use to make their families safer.”

To promote the Spanish language content the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is planning an online outreach campaign targeted at various websites and parenting publications with banner ads in Spanish directed at children and parents. Additionally, Sprint plans to reach out to local Hispanic Chambers of Commerce of which the company is a member requesting that the organizations notify their members about the availability of the Spanish language information.

Sprint committed $395,000 for the second year of its partnership with NCMEC. The funds are earmarked to enhance the project and develop new content. According to promotional materials, all existing content is available in Spanish in the En Español section of the website. Organizers also plan future content in the coming months in Spanish and English on some of the potential future consequences of online actions and the issues associated with online gaming.

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“We are so pleased to be continuing our partnership with NCMEC to fund NSTeens, particularly now that we’re able to bring these materials to an even wider audience,” said Debby Ballard, director of Community Relations for Sprint. “At Sprint, we’re committed to finding ways that we can all work together to provide the best opportunities for our children. The Internet is an important tool from which many youth can benefit but it’s also a tool that’s seeing an increasing number of dangers. gives our children the information they need to start making smarter choices online and in the real word, in ways that are both fun and meaningful for them.” is part of Sprint’s 4NetSafetySM program which offers online safety information for children, especially tweens, as well as teachers, parents, guardians and other adults. Sprint Project Connect provides all 4NetSafety funding. Sprint Project Connect is Sprint’s phone recycling program which accepts wireless phones and accessories of any make and model, and from any carrier.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since it was established by Congress in 1984, the organization’s toll-free 24-hour national missing children’s hotline has handled more than 2.3 million calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 128,750 children. The organization’s CyberTipline has handled more than 600,000 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 14,750,000 child pornography images and videos.

Sprint Nextel offers wireless and wireline communications services to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel has two wireless networks serving nearly 52 million customers at the end of the second quarter 2008; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone.

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